A shaman, Dr. Malidoma Patrice Some', in the documentary "With One Voice ", said..."Go hike in nature. Stand in front of a very tall tree and listen to the deep noisy silence held together in that entity and wonder, why can't I be like that? Stand still in the same place for, we don't know how long and find one self growing taller and taller and taller, both upward and downward. There is something about that which defines greatness as the most obvious depth of quiet inside of which the deepest song can be heard."
Later in the film, he asks,"Is it possible for one human race to open their eyes and look at each other and see gifts everywhere? Let's start with the gift of love. It has no market value right now...but what if it does? What will the world look like once we converge our frustration into compassion, converge our hatred into salvos of love, fired at one another, randomly? What if we invade or entertain the spirit of invading each other with peace? What would the world look like, changing our discourse, our language so that the very word that we use as explosive words to support reason why we should harm one another are subdued and turned into words of love? When you hate someone, send that someone a love poem and see how that person reacts. Is it possible for us to conceive of victory at national level, victory of one nation against another using the yardstick of love and compassion? If this is conceivable then we have reached the same spirit, the same religion and we are all heading toward the final stage of beautifying this globe we call our village.
ECO-Tours are events that honor this truth, this emergent vision of reality. The vision of relationship and of harmony with in one self and between our organism and those around us. These ideas, which to many seem new, are older than time itself and our organization honors and respects all beings, even those who are often ignored, where they are along their own path and what they might need to heal.
It has been my experience that there are states of being that lend themselves to "living in the past". These almost always stem from feelings of lack. By reminiscing, we convince ourselves that we had things much better "back then", or perhaps, like reviewing the mental recordings that we made proving us to be "victim", we can justify in our actions today. The feelings that go with memory are as seductive as our recollection of the events themselves. We must be vigilant though, because our memories are actually nothing but an electrical storm amongst our synapses, distracting us from now. Whether they bring pleasure or pain, they have no bearing on the present moment. Only writers or storytellers need the illusion of time. It allows for the weaving of threads, born of moments into as fabric that we recognize as time. This "cloth" can be used to tie us together, but more and more storytelling today is selling us a bolt of cloth that is fit to weave The Emperor's New Clothes, rife with dissolution, voids and estrangement. My past is no less seductive than yours, I just try to keep "it" in perspective by realizing that on some level, it is the ultimate fiction. Even what I believe to have taken place in the "past", the things I try to file away objectively, are completely made up. This is proven time and time again when different people see the same events, but come away with widely disparate ideas about what actually occurred.
This can take similar form if we dabble in the future, dreaming up ways that things should or could be. Some spend their entire lifetime vanquishing the present for the sake of the future. How many times have we all been told, "You just wait." Even our language has the peculiar proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." It is creepy that we should plot and scheme, coldly choreographing "pay backs" against our perceived enemies. Lives are swallowed up in this process which ultimately destroys the present in favor of a dream. When you look at time in a different way, this is just the same electron storm inside our brains that memories create, but it is about a time that has "not yet come". I argue that this sort of activity is as real as memory and serves to cut our ties with the present as surely as does the "re-living" of our own fictional accounts of the past. Please understand that vanquishing fiction requires far more than one person can present in a few hundred words. Many thousands of people have tried to get us to live only in the moment for centuries and over that amount of time, they have been made out to be fools and fanatics. Even the term mystic "proves" that what they know remains a mystery to those who are bent on forcing reality into the mold that they have made for it.
As as a shaman, I cannot abide this lie. My vision has proven to me that all things, throughout the Universe, are potential and abundance, relationship and harmony. Living in discord always fosters disease and pain. We are unraveling secrets that have eluded science for centuries. They are beginning to tell us unequivocally what the masters and mystics have told us since the beginning of "time". Living in the now is desire-less-ness, it is moksha, samahdi, liberation or enlightenment. I always tell people that when we are planting trees, or seedlings that we need to exist at the matrix of root and soil, put all of our love and attention into making the rootlets as comfortable and happy as possible. Imagine the power of doing that continually throughout the day, with every one, every organism you meet.
Analogy can often help understand complex ideas and this might be a good place to inject a thought picture. If we look at time from a distance, we might see it as a vast ocean, ebbing and flowing around and through obstacles. The memories that we hold on to are "contained" for better and worse inside our heads, as are the dreams for the future that we create as baubles to distract us from living in the now. When we understand the vastness of time, the universality of this great ocean and the power that lies in the swirling, cohesive domain, the tiny bits "contained" within our head lose their hold on us and our perspective changes. I imagine living in the now like this: Imagine a funnel. It can be pointed into the vast ocean, or into our head. We may be trying to capture the vast ocean, in which case the funnel would be pointed inward, swirling into the brain which many of us worship. Likewise, if we seek to make change in the world around us, we may try to inject our experiences into the vast ocean, making our broader ideas "come alive" in the world around us. Anyone who has used a funnel knows that within that tiny object, amazing interactions and transformations take place. This activation, condensation, momentary implosion and direction is like living in the now.
Whether we point the funnel in or out, it is the active now (staying aware of and committed to the eternal now) that holds the power to transform. We are born of nearly infinite possibility. We live our lives in this ocean and when we "pass on", we return to it. Our five senses, society, our culture, education, beliefs and experiences all conspire to take us away from this realm of infinite possibility. The greatest things that occur around us are caused by a desperately small group of enlightened individuals who find ways of jumping time. They either tell us stories that bring us back to important realizations, or bring us tomorrow's technologies today. My contention is that these times are malleable and whether we mine our collective experience for things that we can all relate to or reach into the future to bring back artifacts that have not yet been created, we are playing with fire. Living in the now has far more power than either of those other endeavors. We are one. I have been hearing this sentiment from more and more widely disparate groups over the past several years. Perhaps, if we learn to accept this truth, we will find that the ancestors and our progeny are one with us as well. this is why the ancestors are alive within so many native and shamanic cultures. Our success always rests on the shoulders of giants and recognizing our ancestors as alive within our culture will be necessary if we are to overcome some of our "current" difficulties. When we learn to honor the next seven generations, many more difficulties will evaporate as well.
As Ram Dass told me, nearly two generations ago, "We just have to BE together, and it will all happen". Be-ing requires only now. This is the most important thing to remember about time. Yesterday is over and whatever view we take of it, we are perpetrating a fiction. The past exists nowhere, yet we valiantly try to re-create it. This frivolity can be quite distracting, but ultimately it only holds what is in us already. Telling ourselves that the past is real is one of the greatest disservices that we can do to ourselves. We only have hearsay about it and basing our lives on rumor and innuendo will only lead us to pain and continued suffering. Billions are spent and collected by those willing to calculate and define trends in the hope of capitalizing on them. Determining the future is as hard as ever for those who try to see "into" it. Patterns and ways of understanding are changing ever-faster. The only thing we can safely say about the future is that it has been made up by us to create a sense of security. If we had to integrate the fact that everything that has come to pass and everything that ever will has already come and gone, many would lose their tenacious hold on "reality" and some might never come back. I assure you, this may be scary, but the value of transcending time, speaking with our ancestors and committing our lives to improving the lives of the next seven generations has benefits beyond replication, time-travel and mastery of phase conjugate di-electric field capacitance. We all have the infinite capacity that we were born with, and we all have the power to transform the world around us. When we step out of the electron storms in our heads that many recognize as past and future, we can hear the infinite song of love and relationship that is timeless. The only question that remains is whether we will use our mental prowess to create a reality which holds future and past in their exalted place, realizing that through them we are given this moment to make the best of. Or if we will start noticing the deeper importance of changing our minds about these distractions. It is truly a present worthy of our full attention.
Sacred space allows us to more fully realize our potential. Spending our time in a sacred manner has power beyond the realms of space and time. Carrying with us tools to "see" the importance of the revolving moment rather than the illusory time signatures of past and future is what allows the most miraculous outcomes from mundane activities. It is our birthright to experience the miraculous now, free from our attachments to either of the other fictitious "times". We must cultivate the now if we are to have any chance of survival in this age of change and growth. We are in desperate need of tools that allow us to be self aware and satisfied with what we find around us. Getting to the heart of the matter regarding time involves understanding that we can cloak ourselves in past and future, but they both serve, as did The Emperor's New Clothes, to teach us something important about our selves. Be-ing that authentic person in each moment requires an intimate and growing relationship between ourselves and both our internal and external environment.